How can you ensure sustainable development from CDM projects?

I just sat in on a side-event on the EU and China’s perspective on CDM projects in China. One of the main issues identifieThe EUd, was that the CDM projects in China did not contribute enough to sustainable development. The CDM has two main objectives: the help Annex 1 countries meet their emissions targets in a cost-effecient way, and to contribute to sustainable development. The problem with a world-wide objective of sustainable development under the CDM is that sustainable development is defined so differently to by each country. For instance, China might value carbon reductions more highly than preserving biodiversity, so it could justify large-scale hydropower projects. However, the EU might value biodiversity higher than China. In this case, the two parties do not agree on the definition of sustainable development, as each country is dealing with different priorities. CDM has not cleary defined sustainable development, and what kinds of projects should be allowed. In order to achieve sustainable development world-wide, a more international perspective will need to be developed. What is sustainable development to the international community? Is it development that achieves carbon-neutrality? or should we take a more humanitarian perspective, by investing in projects such as those that bring clean water to developing countries?

These are the questions that will need to be negociated by those parties concerned with the CDM in order for the CDM to better achieve its two objectives for the next committment period.

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